Commodore Winfield S. Schley, Commander, Flying Squadron, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long
Cipher dispatch for Navy Department.
Received despatch of May 25th delivered by HARVARD off Santiago de Cuba. MERRIMAC’S engine is disabled and she is helpless; am obliged to have her towed to Key West. Have been absolutely unable
x to coal the TEXAS, MARBLEHEAD, VIXEN and BROOKLYN from collier, owing to very rough seas and boisterous weather since leaving Key West. BROOKLYN is the only one in Squadron having more than sufficient coal to reach Key West. Impossible to remain off Santiago in present state of coal account of the Squadron. Not possible to coal to leeward of Cape Cruz in summer weather owing to southwest winds. HARVARD justs reports to me she has only coal enough to reach Jamaica and she will proceed to Port Royal; also reports only small vessels could coal at Gonaives or Mole Haiti. MINNEAPOLIS has only coal enough to reach Key West and same of YALE which will tow MERRIMAC. It is to be regreted that the Department’s orders cannot be obeyed, earnestly as we have all striven to that end. I am forced to return to Key West <via Yucatan Passage> for coal<.> Can ascertain nothing certain concerning enemy. Was obliged to send EAGLE to Port Antonio, Jamaica, yesterday as she had only 27 tons coal on board. Will probably leave St PAUL here. Will require 9500 tons of coal, at Key West.
Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, Papers of Charles S. Cotton, Box 1. This document was sent on 27 May 1898.